TAIPEI, Taiwan (CNN) -- Former Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian was convicted Friday on corruption and money laundering charges, and was sentenced to life in prison, according to officials at Taipei City Court.
Former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian walks inside the Taipei Detention Centre in Tucheng on Friday.
He was fined 200 million New Taiwan dollars (U.S.$6.1 million) as well. Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, who earlier had been convicted of lying to prosecutors, also was convicted on similar charges. She received a life sentence and was fined 300 million New Taiwan dollars (U.S. $9.1 million), according to the Central News Agency, Taiwan's official news agency.
The former president was not at the courthouse when the verdict was read.
He had asked to be excused and was being held at a detention center.
Supporters of Chen gathered outside the courthouse hours before the verdict, wearing bright-green shirts, and carrying yellow balloons and banners.
Riot police stood by in case the crowd got out of control as they protested the verdict.
The former president's corruption trial began in March. It is the first for a former head of state, and has gripped the island for months. He has denied wrongdoing and has said the charges are politically motivated.